News channel claims Defence Ministry has approved ECP’s request for specified number of soldiers
The Ministry of Defence has agreed to provide 350,000 troops for election duties as requested by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), private TV channel Geo News claimed on Thursday, as an ECP official denied that any such request has been forwarded to the Defence Ministry.
According to the channel’s report, the Defence Ministry has decided to call back for the purpose army, air force and navy personnel who retired in the last two years.
Quoting official sources, the channel claimed that the retired personnel will enjoy complete powers that are given to serving military personnel on election duty.
The army will take over the security of the Printing Corporation of Pakistan, which published ballot papers, from June 27 whereas it will take up election duties four days before the July 25 polls.
The ECP had written a summary to the Defence Ministry seeking 350,000 troops for election duty, the channel claimed.
However, the chief election commissioner’s spokesman told Pakistan Today that no such formal request has yet been sent to the Defence Ministry.
“ECP has decided to deploy troops for security purposes during the election but the election watchdog has not yet sent any request seeking a specified number of troops for the purpose,” he said, rejecting the channel’s report as “baseless”.
Last week, the ECP had declared that army personnel would be posted inside and outside the polling stations as well as at the printing press from June 27, till polling day.
Though the army has been deployed to secure the general elections before, such a high number has never been seen earlier.
According to media reports, with 350,000 available personnel, the armed forces will be able to post two security officials inside and two outside at around 85,000 polling stations.
The Pakistan Army had also spared around 200,000 troops to conduct the Sixth Population and Housing Census of the country last year.
As per a revised election schedule issued by ECP on June 8, the last day to submit nomination papers was extended from June 8 to June 11.
The electoral body had earlier said that the date for submission of nomination papers was extended to facilitate political parties.
The deadline to complete the scrutiny of nomination papers was changed from June 14 to June 19.The last day to file appeals against any objection to the decisions of returning officers was extended till June 22.
The verdicts on appeals will be announced by June 27, after which, the revised list of candidates will be issued on June 28.
Candidates will be able to withdraw their nomination papers on June 29, and the electoral body will announce the final list of candidates on the same day.
The electoral symbols will be issued to candidates on June 30.
Polling will be conducted on July 25.